More than just a job
Reuben Vuong loves everything about trains. “I love trains very much, I would be happy if I could work at the trains or trams museum, be a miniature train driver or making miniature model trains,” he says passionately.
Alongside his passion for trains, Reuben has also been training and working at Achieve’s My Career disability employment service learning both job and life based skills since September, 2018. But since the COVID-19 restrictions he hasn’t been going to work at AchievAble Enterprises like usual, which has been challenging.
“I usually enjoy being at home doing my routine tasks, but I don’t like it if I have to stay at home every day doing the same thing,” explains Reuben. “I miss my work, my gym and the life skills programs.”
At work Leanne Larche, Operations Manager at AchievAble Enterprises, is supporting Reuben to learn new job skills, improve communication and to learn to work as a team with his colleagues. “Reuben’s communication has improved over time and we can see he is communicating better with his co-workers now,” says Leanne. “Reuben is more understanding of changes within the workplace and he is more patient when there is a change of task.”
In the past, Reuben would sometimes become frustrated with any sudden change in work tasks or when he would identify an error. By working closely with Leanne and her team to develop his communication skills, Reuben is now able to communicate better than before with his colleagues and family.
Miranda Chau, Reuben’s mum, has also noticed the positive changes that the employment and training opportunities have provided for her son. “Reuben is certainly more independent and his social interaction skills have improved,” she says. “Reuben would call me every day when he finishes work to tell me what he has done at work and he would name one task he was working on that day. We have more conversations now than before.”
Regular, steady employment and building skills can also provide a new-found confidence and helps to create a greater sense of wellbeing for the people we support. “Reuben is happier and he is using more words and also new words in conversations. He looks forward to going to work each morning,” says Miranda.
Leanne says it has been essential to involve Reuben’s family throughout his training and development to maintain the focus on what Reuben needs. “We have worked really closely with Rueben and his mum, Miranda, which has assisted our team in developing strategies to better support Reuben based on his individual needs,” explains Leanne.
“Now Reuben is more patient and accepting of change and communicates to staff when he sees an error that needs fixing,” says Leanne. “He has become better at dealing with these types of situations, which is great to see.”
After the restrictions ease, Reuben says he is keen to get back to his regular routine of working, social activities and on-the-job training. “I am looking forward to coming back to work, meeting my friends and going out to social activities on the weekend. I like being given an opportunity to learn a new job.”